Rejects to put one over Da Gama

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However, the Tycoons may well be holding four aces in their hands for this encounter.

Stars will be fielding four former Bucs’ ‘rejects’ who were brought to their club by Owen da Gama when he held the reins there.

Steve Lekoelea, Sailor Tshabalala, Phumudzo Manenzhe and Solomon Mathe who all once donned the famous Black and White jersey of Pirates, will line up for the 19h30 kick off on the opposite side in the red and white of Platinum Stars, while on the other side, Da Gama will be facing his former employers for the first time since moving to Pirates in October.

All four ex-Bucs’s will no doubt be motivated to play above their best in this encounter.

Stars’ defenders will no doubt still be having nightmares of James Chamanga, who scored a record five goals past them to help Moroka Swallows pick up a 6-2 win that sees the Tycoons perilously close to the bottom of the table.

And the prospect of facing another star striker in the form of Excellent Walaza – tied at the top of the scoring charts on seven goals with Chamanga and Free State Stars’ Diyo Sibisi – will not be filling Stars with any confidence.

However, one has to head back to the 2004/05 season to find the last time Pirates defeated Stars away from home and the hosts will have an extra incentive in trying to thwart former mentor Owen Da Gama, who left the club to take up the vacant coaching post at the Buccaneers earlier this season.

That motivation, along with Stars’ determination to avoid another embarrassment such as the one they suffered at the hands of Swallows, should ensure that the hosts will be keen to put up a strong fight against the Buccaneers.

Yet Platinum Stars will have to do something rather special if they are to pick up three points. Not only have they failed to win in any of their last eight Absa Premiership matches, but they have never defeated Pirates in the league since their promotion to the top flight at the start of the 2003/04 season.

Things look even bleaker for the hosts when one considers that they have conceded 18 goals thus far this season, the worst defensive record in the Premiership, while Pirates have the most potent attack: 18 goals scored.

LAST FIVE RESULTS

Stars Date Opponent H/A Result 09/12/07 Moroka Swallows A L 2-6 02/12/07 Ajax Cape Town H D 1-1 25/11/07 Free State Stars A L 1-3 14/11/07 AmaZulu H L 0-1 04/11/07 BidVest Wits H D 0-0

Pirates 08/12/07 Ajax Cape Town H W 2-1 02/12/07 Thanda Royal Zulu H W 3-1 24/11/07 Kaizer Chiefs H D 2-2 14/11/07 SuperSport United A L 1-3 07/11/07 Jomo Cosmos A W 1-0

HEAD-TO-HEAD STATISTICS League meetings since 2003/04

2003/04 Pirates 1 (Mothibi) Stars 1 (Nkosi) Stars 2 (Mkhize (pen), Masanabo) Pirates 2 (Phakathi, Netshiozwe)

2004/05 Stars 0 Pirates 2 (Manenzhe, Dinha (pen)) Pirates 2 (Lekoelea, Mutapa) Stars 1(Ngobeni)

2005/06 Stars 2 (Lekgwathi (og), Khanye) Pirates 2 (Mutape, Mathe) Pirates 1 (Nomvete) Stars 1 (Studzinski)

2006/07 Stars 0 Pirates 0 Pirates 2 (Tefera, Mashehe) Stars 0

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